Jim belongs to: The Doxford Engine Friends Association
Jim was born in Sunderland in 1943. He followed his father into Doxford's. He began his apprenticeship in December 1959.
Jim was interviewed by Kylea Little on 24 January 2006. The interview took place at the Interviewee's living room and lasted 1 hour, 16 minutes and 2 seconds.
Training the apprentices and the closure of Doxford's
"Then Les Morris came, Les Morris moved into apprentice training and it was him that recommended that I put in for it"
Then Les Morris came, Les Morris moved into apprentice training and it was him that recommended that I put in for it, and it was him that was pushing me to go for it. But I didn’t know that, I was just working away. And he came along and he said to me, “you’ve had apprentices from me, you’ve taken in an apprentice, an individual, and you’ve looked after him for two to three months, you’ve shown him how to operate the lathe.” I said, “yes.” He said, “well, there’s no difference between teaching him and teaching all the others.” I said, “there is, there’s 78 apprentices, there’s only one.” He said, “well, let’s put it this way” he said, “we’ve been keeping an eye on all the people who do our training, our individual training for different apprentices, and the apprentices have come back and said you are one of the best. So we want you to come and join the team.” And I said, “well, what if I don’t want to?” He said, “you’re an idiot.” I said, “well, right, well, okay,” and I went for the interview and I got the job. That’s basically it.
So I moved, and I went into the apprentice training school and for the next six years I trained Doxford’s apprentices. Les, by that time, had retired and moved on, I was on my own working with moving, shuffling apprentices around the company, doing all the things that you do with apprentices, keeping them going, making sure they went to college, checked up various things, went to colleges, making sure the colleges were teaching them what we wanted them to teach them, not what they wanted, and did all, all that sort of work.
And one day the manager just called me in and he just said, “we need to sit down and discuss, we need to place all the apprentices, we need to make sure that they’ve all got jobs.” And I said, “what do you mean?” and he said, “well, Doxford’s is closing down.” And that was the first inclination- we knew, we’d had rumours but we hadn’t had any, sort of inclination that things were that bad. So for the next sort of six months, right till November 1981 I was placing apprentices with different companies, on the Wear, on the Tyne and making sure that they went because a lot of them didn’t want to go. Got rid of most of the, the older apprentices at sea- they joined shipping companies and went to seagoing engineering, and that’s the way it basically went.
And in November, I left, I was transferred to British Ship Builders’ Training, which was in Middlesborough at the time, which was a long way to travel when you’d walk down the road.
Jim has 14 memories in the memorynet:
Jim's memories with a The North East theme:
- Training the apprentices and the closure of Doxford's
- Leaving Doxford's
- Aerial view of the Doxford Works and the River Wear
Jim's other memories: